Sweet Green Salad with Sesame Dressing

A little (ok, a lot) green and a little sweet makes this salad exceptionally delicious.

Did you know that sesame seeds can help lower cholesterol, are full of protein, supports healthy digestion, improves heart health, improves skin appearance, alleviates anemia, is good for eyes, and can even protect against some cancers? Amazing, right?! You could sprinkle seeds on your salad, or like I did here, make a dressing with sesame seeds.

This salad is chock full of green, green and more green plant food. To counter that, I tossed in some tart with the cranberries and to counter that tartness I threw in grapes, too. It’s out of this world!

When I make this salad, my kiddo loves to grab anything he can from the fridge and chop it up and throw it in. He tends to eat the broccoli as we chop so sometimes the salad has less broccoli making it INTO the bowl. ūüôā Oh well, he is still eating it, right?!

 

Here is what we tossed into a GIANT salad bowl and dug in for a mouthwatering meal. Disclaimer: I don’t really measure, I just chop and toss. I will tell you what I used, and you can add as little or as much of each as you like into your own giant salad bowl. Trust me, you’ll want a big bowl to accommodate all this deliciousness.

Ingredients For Salad

Red leaf lettuce

Green leaf lettuce

Romain lettuce

Kale

Broccoli

Broccoli sprouts

Cranberries

Grapes

  1. Chop/dice/cut all your veggies and toss them in a bowl. I like to use my hands and toss it around to get it all mixed up. Plus it is fun to play with your food. ūüėČ

Sesame Dressing

1/2 cup sesame seeds

3/4 cup water

4 Medjool dates

2 tbsp ground brown mustard

  1. Put all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour over salad and massage salad to coat every square inch on your plants in the bowl.

 

 

Crispy Tofu Fingers

Even chicken finger lovers will love this one.

As my oldest son told me, “Now this is a finger lickin’ good food!”

1 package of extra firm organic non-GMO tofu

1/2 cup almond milk

1 tbsp tapioca starch

1/3 cup cornmeal

1/2 cup ground oatmeal (you could substitute gluten-free breadcrumbs)

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp garlic powder

  1. Rinse tofu and wrap the tofu in paper towels or a kitchen towel. Then place something heavy (like a few heavy cookbooks) on top to let the water soak out for about 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk together the milk and tapioca starch in a shallow dish.
  3. In a bowl, mix the remaining ingredients and set aside.
  4. Preheat the oven to 400.
  5. Slice the tofu into strips, dip 1 strip at a time in the milk mixture, then coat with the breading. Place on baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, flip the tofu strips and bake for another 15 minutes.

 

 

Creamy Mac & Cheese with Cashew Cream Sauce

When I first served this for dinner, one of my kids squealed so loud I thought he hurt himself. But then he got up and started doing a happy dance. He said this is “THE BEST MAC & CHEESE EVER!!” ¬†My other son agreed, wholeheartedly. They love mac & cheese and I have a few variations on this blog. There are so many different ways to make “cheese” sauce without actually using cheese at all. This one is by far the fastest to prepare. And apparently, according to my boys, the tastiest because of how creamy it is.

The nutritional boost with this one comes from the cashews. They are the lowest fiber nut but still packed with important vitamins and minerals. They are high in magnesium (strengthens bones), high in copper (eliminates free radicals), high in good fats (energy booster), and high in anti-oxidants (anti-aging).

 

1 cup whole un-salted raw cashews

2 cups water

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

2 tbsp tapioca starch

2 tbsp tomato paste

1/4 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp Himalayan sea salt

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1 lb gluten free macaroni elbows

  1. In a strainer, rinse the cashews. Then place in a bowl and cover with the water. Let them soak for 4 hours or up to overnight. Even if you have a high power blender, it is best to soak them. It makes them much easier to blend and it gets much creamier.
  2. Put all of the ingredients (except the macaroni) in a blender and blend until smooth. Then pour into a saucepan and heat on low until it begins to simmer. Stir occasionally to be sure it doesn’t scorch or stick to the bottom of the pan.
  3. Prepare the pasta according to package instructions. Drain. Then pour into the saucepan with the sauce and stir to combine.

Flatbread

Gluten free, super soft & flexible, and really delicious. These are great for making quesadillas, sandwiches or for tacos.

These are quick to make and have minimal ingredients. No fillers or chemical additives. And I can assure you they taste better than packaged tortillas or flatbreads.

 

They are flexible without crumbling, which tends to be the issue with a lot of gluten free baked goods. The tapioca flour helps keep this stretchy and flexible.

 

2 cups gluten free flour (I used 1 cup white rice flour + 1 cup tapioca flour)

1 tsp Himalayan sea salt

1 1/2 tsp aluminum free baking powder

1 cup oat milk

  1. In a bowl mix the flour, salt, and baking powder.
  2. Add in the milk and mix until dough forms.
  3. On a generously floured surface, using your hands, press a golf ball sized amount of dough out to form a flat circle. Using a roller won’t work well because it is a slightly sticky dough.
  4. Heat a griddle or large skillet to medium high and cook each side for about 2 minutes.

Quinoa Pizza Bites

The benefits of quinoa are many, including large amounts of protein (one of the few plant foods containing all 9 essential amino acids, it contains 8g of protein per 1 cup serving), fiber, and various vitamins and minerals.

It is also high in magnesium, iron, B-vitamins, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, vitamin E, and antioxidants.

It is gluten free and recommended for a gluten-free diet.

In addition to all those benefits, the bottom line is what is really important….these pizza bites taste GOOD. ¬†Plus, wait till you see how easy they are to make!

1 cup cooked and cooled quinoa (I make this ahead of time)

2 cups cooked and cooled cauliflower florets, pureed (I boil or steam until soft, then once cooled I puree it in a food processor)

1 chia egg

1/4 cup brown rice flour

2 tbsp coconut flour

2 tbsp pizza sauce (I used this sauce)

2 tsp onion powder

2 tsp Italian seasoning

1 1/2 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp Himalayan sea salt

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

  1. Preheat the oven to 400.
  2. Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. Gently form into 1 inch balls and place on baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes.

 

Chickpea Nuggets

As a legume, chickpeas are considered a vegetable and protein food. They offer a lot of nutritional quality including many vitamins, minerals and fiber.

Just 1 cup of chickpeas has 15 grams of protein and 13 grams of fiber. And that same 1 cup of beans has 26% of the recommended daily value for iron, and 70%  for folate.

Folate is important because it plays a role in DNA synthesis and repair. It encourages cell and tissue growth. Folic acid is not the same as folate. Folic acid is a synthetic chemical added to foods. Our body was not designed to metabolize folic acid. It gets dumped into the bloodstream and leads to heart disease and cancer. To avoid folic acid, avoid processed and packaged foods.Plants have folate, and our body knows what to do with folate.

So about the nuggets, with the herb breading they are full of flavor, and they are the perfect texture for a nugget. These are great for a dipping snack, lunch, or even dinner with some roasted veggies on the side.

Any mom (or dad!) to a toddler knows, nuggets tend to be a staple meal. Skip the frozen package of nuggets that are full of chemicals and whip these up. Have the kids help! They love getting their hands messy and playing with their food. My kids, though they are not toddlers anymore, love helping me shape these into nuggets. The more kids can help prepare the meal, they more likely they are to eat it, or at least try it! And since these nuggets have such a mild flavor they are not likely to scare away your budding plant-based eater.

Breading:

2 tbsp hemp seeds

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

1 tsp garlic powder

1/8 tsp ground black pepper

1/4 tsp smoked paprika

1/4 cup gluten free (or homemade) breadcrumbs OR ground up oatmeal

Nuggets:

1/2 cup oatmeal, ground

15oz. can of garbanzo beans (do not drain)

1 tsp Himalayan sea salt

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp onion powder

  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Prepare your breading in a shallow dish, and set aside. (If using oatmeal as breadcrumbs, put 1/4 cup oats in a food processor and pulse until crumbly, being careful not to pulse long enough to make it too powdery.)
  3. In a food processor, grind your oats into a fine flour, then pour into a small bowl and set aside.
  4. Drain the beans into a measuring cup, save 1/4 cup of the liquid.
  5. Pour the beans into the food processor along with the garlic powder, onion powder, and salt. Pulse until crumbly.
  6. Whisk the 1/4 cup chickpea liquid with a fork until it is foamy. Add the liquid and the oat flour to the food processor and pulse until mixed well.
  7. With your hands, shape your nuggets into the size and shape you want. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes.

** These also make great chickpea patties served on hamburger buns and your favorite toppings!**

Apple Sandwich

Kids love it when you get creative with lunch! My kids tend to ask for apples with their lunch most days anyway, so I incorporate their apple slices as a main part of their meal when I make these sandwiches for them. ¬†Adding in this¬†granola includes a great source of complete proteins and healthy fats. Sprinkle some raisins on and you include a good amount of iron, B vitamins, and potassium. The nut butter holds it all together. You could use peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter, or even sunflower seed butter. It’s your choice!

1 apple

granola

raisins

peanut butter

  1. Slice the apples in thin slices. I used a mandolin slicer, but if you have a steady hand you can use a sharp knife.
  2. Cut the seeds/core out of the middle of the apple slices. I used a small cookie cutter, but again, you could use a knife to cut that part out.
  3. Spread peanut butter on one slice. Sprinkle on some raisins, then the granola. Put another apple slice on top to make it a sandwich.

Super Salad

You can have a delicious meal while doing tremendous good for your body. Good for you food does not come from a package or manufacturing plant. They come from a plant, you know, like, from the earth.

I would recommend you choose organic foods because you’ll reduce your load of toxic chemicals. When you eat this salad, you are supporting your body’s ability to detoxify itself (which is a normal function of the body), but if you keep putting more toxins in you’re going to have a hard time reducing your burden. Organic greens are pretty inexpensive.

I start with romaine to give my salad bulk. Romaine is a great source of many vitamins and minerals. The A and C can help with reducing inflammation and stopping free-radical damage. Vitamin K can help with bone health and blood health. Also because of A and C, it is great for improving eye health and skin health. The A and C together have even been shown to work to stop cell damage that can lead to cancer. Of course, I don’t have to tell you that the vitamin C is a boost to the immune system. Romaine is also good for digestive and intestine health.

Did you know kale has omega 3 and 6 fats? ¬†Now, omega 6 fats are pro-inflammatory when not the the right ratio to omega-3 fats. ¬†Kale has the right ratio, so it reduces inflammation! Internal and chronic inflammation is what leads to disease. There is a component in kale called¬†isothiocyanates which have been reported to help detoxify the body at the cellular level. Kale stands out in it’s ability to protect against heart disease as well. Kale is a valuable source of folate which helps a healthy pregnancy and also the development of infants.

Not only do I start with romaine and kale, but I also put a generous amount of spinach in my salad. The benefits of spinach are just as profound. It is protective against cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. It boosts your immune system, promotes eye health, maintains bone health, improves skin health and helps the body with detoxification.

Romaine, kale, and spinach are the leafy greens. But I never forget to add broccoli sprouts! Broccoli sprouts are even more healthy than the mature broccoli. Broccoli sprouts have a very high level of enzymes and nutrients which provide the body valuable energy to detox and strengthen the immune system. They have also been called one of the most anti-cancer foods!

Carrots get thrown in there, too. Carrots have been shown to promote healthy skin, slow aging, prevent infection, cleanse the body, protect teeth & gums, and even prevent stroke!

Eating healthy is not¬†boring and gross. It’s delicious and beneficial.

This is just what I add to my salad. It’s anti-cancer, immune boosting, and detoxifying. You could always throw on any other veggies you love. I generally top my salad with one of my homemade salad dressings (which you can find on this blog as well. And I will be adding more soon.¬†Here is my favorite one.). Occasionally I will add my homemade¬†croutons¬†as well.

It is also a good idea to boost the power of this salad by sprinkling on some flax seed and/or any other nuts and seeds you like. Pumpkin seeds are a great option. So are sunflower seeds If you like more crunch in your salad, cashews or almonds would be delicious, too.

1-2 heads of romaine

2 handfuls of kale

2 handfuls of spinach

2 handfuls each of green leaf and red leaf lettuce

1 handful of broccoli spouts

1 handful of carrots

Yogurt and Berries with Granola

Talk about hitting the spot and satisfying your sweet tooth! Here is a snack you can feel good about. Not only are your taste buds happy but you are fueling yourself with so many disease fighting, immune-building nutrients. This is the perfect afternoon snack. Or dessert!

6 oz. unsweetened plain coconut milk yogurt (I used So Delicious brand)

1 tbsp honey

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 banana, sliced

Handful of various berries (I like using a couple each of strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries)

1/4 cup cinnamon crunch granola

  1. Add the yogurt to a bowl and stir in the honey, cinnamon, and vanilla extract.
  2. Mix in the fruit.
  3. Sprinkle the granola on top.